With Labour continuing to do well in opinion polls ahead of the election, Scottish agri spokesperson, Rhoda Grant MSP was keen to dismiss accusations the party’s manifesto was light on rural policy at the Royal Highland Show.

Speaking to The Scottish Farmer, Ms Grant would not be drawn on Tory and Lib Dem agri funding commitments of £1bn but acknowledged the importance of support.

She said: “Our policy is that there is a sustainable future for farming and the sector knows what is happening going forward, because nothing else happens unless there is a sustainable future for farming.

“I could say the Tories and Liberal Democrats don’t expect to win so they can promise the earth and no-one is going to ask them to deliver it. We are in a slightly different position where we have to be very careful about making promises and making sure we can keep the promises we make – we under-promise and overdeliver.”

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Ms Grant added that while the manifesto may not have pages of ‘dreams and blue-sky thinking’, but when it comes down to the ‘nitty gritty’ it is about making sure farming has support going forward and giving farmers confidence.”

With the prospect of a Labour government taking over the reins at Westminster, Ms Grant said the party’s group of MSPs has a close relationship with their UK colleagues and had played a role in policy development.

She said: “We need to keep that close relationship, because despite a lot of power being devolved to Holyrood, there is a lot the UK government can do.”

With an eye to net zero targets and the potential reduction in livestock numbers, Ms Grant said it would be ‘crazy’ to stop dealing in livestock, only to import it from abroad from intensively farmed animals from abroad that are creating more greenhouse gasses.

“We need the livestock sector and we have to be very careful as we’ve had falling numbers and with that a huge issue of abattoirs in rural areas and challenges for hauliers.” She added.

In a concluding message to industry, she said: “We will work with you is very clearly what we are saying. Our UK colleagues are very clear that we have a distinct way of farming compared to other parts of the UK and they have got the message loud and clear that we want a level playing field.

“Folk are so fed up of politicians promises and then deliver nothing that we need to almost restart that relationship with politics so people can trust in it again.

“Suffice to say we hear and understand what our agriculture businesses need and we will do our very best to deliver that.”

Labour leader Anas Sarwar also attended RHS and promised to turn the Scotland Office into a ‘window to the world’ and use the soft power of ‘Brand Scotland’ to ‘sell Scotland’s high-quality food and drink, creative industries, tech, tourism and hospitality to the world.”